NCAA planning to allow fans to attend tournament games despite coronavirus
The NCAA has been keeping a close eye on coronavirus developments for potential impacts on the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but as of now there are no plans to prevent fans from attending tourney games.
Earlier in the week, the NBA sent a memo to teams preparing them for the possibility that games may need to be played in empty arenas to prevent the spread of coronavirus. On Sunday, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said there has been no talk about excluding spectators from tournament games.
NCAA's Dan Gavitt just said on CBS that NCAA is "definitively" planning on playing tourney games with spectators. Obviously things can change rapidly but he said NCAA's panel of experts is in nearly daily communication with the CDC.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 8, 2020
Obviously, attendance is a huge source of revenue in the NCAA Tournament. Banning fans from games would be a last resort, and it would probably only happen if there was some sort of mandate from the CDC. There is still more than a week to go until the tournament tips off, so a lot can change.
The NCAA Tournament is one of the most exciting events of the sports calendar. Obviously, nobody wants to see tourney games in front of empty arenas. One NBA player has already said he would rather have games cancelled than play without fans, but there would be no way to do that in the NCAA Tournament.